Deputy PM adopts suggestion to focus on vacant sites in the north
The deputy prime miniester, Nick Clegg, has spoken about finding temporary uses for vacant sites in Northern cities.
He has said that he wants to see derelict properties brought ‘back to life’ to tackle a chronic problem where vast sites in Northern cities are unused for so long that whole areas can become blighted.
Clegg made the announcement while visitng a project in Berlin called Betahaus, a collaborative working space has been created in a derelict area. However the idea was suggested to him earlier at the Northern Futures Summit in Leeds on 6 November when landscape architect Elaine Cresswell put the idea forward.
She is quoted on a government press release as saying, ‘After pitching my vision for the North to the Deputy Prime Minister, it’s really exciting to see ideas for regenerating vacant sites taking real shape. For too long, derelict land, gap sites and unused buildings located at the heart of Northern city centres have been a wasted resource. They create a poor image to visitors, investors, businesses and potential residents, reducing the potential for future development. There are so many properties that can be used on a temporary basis for business, community or arts uses, whilst renewing the appeal of a neighbourhood and making it viable again.’
The north has nearly twice as many hectares of previously developed vacant land and buildings as the south, with 10,130 hectares in the north compared to just 5,580 hectares in the south.
To help unlock this potential, the Deputy Prime Minister will form a working group immediately – comprised of local government, businesses and charities – to investigate how more vacant buildings and land across the North can be brought back into temporary use. The group will explore sites with potential across Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool and Newcastle.
The sites are:
Lyceum Post Office
England and Martins Bank
Rope Walks ‘Back’ streets
Piccadilly Place/Moseley Street
New retail quarter, city centre.